Obesity is a growing public health problem associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and cancer. Here, we identify microRNA-22 (miR-22) as an essential rheostat involved in the control of lipid and energy homeostasis as well as the onset and maintenance of obesity. We demonstrate through knockout and transgenic mouse models that miR-22 loss-of-function protects against obesity and hepatic steatosis, while its overexpression promotes both phenotypes even when mice are fed a regular chow diet. Mechanistically, we show that miR-22 controls multiple pathways related to lipid biogenesis and differentiation. Importantly, genetic ablation of miR-22 favors metabolic rewiring towards higher energy expenditure and browning of white adipose tissue, suggesting that modulation of miR-22 could represent a viable therapeutic strategy for treatment of obesity and other metabolic disorders.